West, East Feliciana parishes to allow businesses to reopen, seemingly in defiance of Gov. Edwards’ stay-at-home order

West Feliciana Parish will begin to reopen slowly before stay-at-home order

(WAFB) - In a move that seemingly defies Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ stay at home order, West and East Feliciana parishes will allow all businesses to reopen at a limited capacity.

Many of the businesses such as boutiques and shops that dot the parishes were never required to close, owners decided to do so based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Under the governor’s original stay at home order, restaurants were mostly required to close to the public, only being allowed to serve takeout orders.

ONE-STOP-SHOP: Everything you need to know related to COVID-19

Under the governor’s new order, the requirements for restaurants were relaxed slightly. Beginning Friday, May 1 any restaurant with outside seating can allow customers to eat at those tables but without table side service.

The new guidelines set forth by West Feliciana Parish President Kenny Havard and by neighboring East Feliciana Parish seem to go against that.

“We’ve analyzed the numbers and together the sheriff, the mayor, our EOC director and myself have made the decision that now’s the time to move forward,” Havard said.

RELATED: E Feliciana Parish releases plans for reopening businesses, easing stay-at-home restrictions

Harvard also asked the resident to view the parish government’s guidelines, which can be viewed by click here.

“Together, Mayor D’Aquilla, Sheriff Austin Daniel, Sheriff Elect Brian Spillman, and I have concluded that now is the time to take a small step closer to some resemblance of normalcy," Havard said.

Under the new guidance, restaurants would be allowed to operate at 25% capacity. That includes tableside service.

Other businesses like the numerous boutiques in the parish must maintain no more than 25% occupancy. However, the number of people inside cannot include more than 10, including employees, and everyone must wear some type of personal protective equipment.

“We ask that you continue to be patient and help protect the most vulnerable among us. This can be done by wearing a mask when in public and washing your hands often,” Havard said.

Museums and libraries are also allowed to reopen at a 25% occupancy. Churches and places of worship are also allowed to reopen, as long as they practice social distancing.

Anyone 65 years of age and older or who have existing health conditions is being urged to shelter at home.

“A very small portion of it may be at odds with what he’s thinking,” Havard said. “I consider him (Gov. Edwards) a friend of mine and I think he’s doing a wonderful job with what he’s trying to do. Problem is every situation is unique and to try and lump west Feliciana in with Baton Rouge or New Orleans, it doesn’t work for us.”

According to the parish president, businesses could reopen as soon as they can meet the guidelines set forth by his office. Havard said he expected most would be open by next week.

East Feliciana Parish has since adopted nearly identical guidelines for its businesses to reopen.

WAFB reached out to the governor’s office for comment on the two parishes plans to reopen, a representative responded:

We are looking at guidance put out by different parishes and will communicate directly with parish leaders and confirm the restrictions put in place by the Governor’s Stay at Home order and that their orders may have tighter restrictions than his but not looser. We want to make sure we are clearly communicating with local governments and businesses.

However, to be clear, restaurants in Louisiana cannot do dine-in service currently or until May 15th at the absolute earliest. They may have drive through or curbside meals and beginning on Friday, may offer outdoor dining without table side service. That is the rule and all restaurants should abide by it in order to be in compliance with the State Fire Marshal and Louisiana Department of Health,” said Shauna Sanford, the communications director for Gov. Edwards.

Click here to read the detailed guidelines for West Feliciana Parish.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.